The University of Akron (UA) is committed to providing an accessible experience for visitors to our web resources. As an institution of higher learning, we have an ethical and legal responsibility to ensure all students, employees, and our community can use our web-based educational material and services. Therefore, an accessible website is of the utmost importance. We will strive for universal usability to ensure the online experience is better for everyone. Part of universal accessibility is ensuring the website is accessible. This policy serves as a guide for UA content creators and policymakers.
The University is actively committed to ongoing review as technologies change and evolve.
For the purposes of this policy, web accessibility will cover content accessed through a web browser – either on a desktop/laptop or mobile device. Electronic and digital content served through other means (e.g., text messaging and interactive bulletin boards) are beyond the scope of this document and should be addressed through other policies.
The University will ensure online content meets level A and level AA criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 or higher.
The responsibilities for an accessible website fall into three categories.
Creating accessible content at the design phase is easier than remediation. The responsible parties should apply the WCAG 2.0 criteria at every step of the development process.
When issues are found, a centralized, accessible form will allow users to share information about the problem with UCM. UCM will address the issue directly or route to the responsible parties for resolution. This structure is similar to the reporting done for other technical issues on websites. The hyperlink can be deployed to other platforms as needed – including the LMS. Systems will be implemented in third-party tools to provide a reporting mechanism if a direct hyperlink is not appropriate.
Related to the remediation process, a separate form will allow content creators and departments to request an exemption to the provisions of this policy. The Office of Accessibility and/or Human Resources and/or the ADA coordinator will evaluate the request and, wherever possible, will provide alternative solutions. A viable exception could be for small research groups with technical limitations or for projects in a prototype stage.
All visitors to UA’s web resources deserve a positive and enriching experience when accessing content produced by our community of creators, departments, and administrators. Working together and following the WCAG standards will allow the University to improve on our web presence overall.